Big Bats, Big Arms.

Tony Sanchez here for my first attempt at a blog. Obviously, I have zero blogging experience but I’m excited to have the chance to share my Arizona Fall League experiences with the hand full of readers I may get. I will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox along with my teammates from the Pirates Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic and Andrew Lambo. All of us are really pumped to be here and showcase our skills against some of the best players in the minors. 

Its been almost four months since I’ve played in a game with any meaning and let me tell you, four months feels like four years. Taking a 95 mph heater to the jaw is not very pleasing and having to spoon feed myself blended Chef Boyardee isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. Funny story though, the pitcher from the Mets who is guilty for throwing that fastball happens to be on my AFL team, so I thought that was quite the coincidence. Needless to say, he feels awful and was very apologetic once he realized I was the guy whose face he destroyed. But everything happens for a reason and if he doesn’t hit me with that pitch, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. So that’s one way to look at it. 
My first looks at our team were this week as we practiced for the few days we’ve been here before games start. We definitely have a bunch of talent on our team and I’m sure every other team does as well. Our staff is full of guys with power fastballs and wipe out sliders, not any arms on this team throwing anything less then low 90’s, which is always impressive. What’s going to make my job easier behind the plate is that all these pitchers have a lot of confidence in their stuff and they’re not going to be afraid to throw any pitch in any situation, with conviction. 
The hitters have been just as impressive. Taking batting practice with these guys reminds me of my time at big league camp earlier this year. A lot of guys driving the ball into the gaps and sending pearls over the fence with ease. We have a lot of big bats with some big time juice and some quick hands. Its going to be fun watching some of these guys hit throughout the fall league. 
Our first game is tomorrow and I’m really excited to get back there and step back into the box with a chance to drive some runs in. If anyone happens to be at the game, I’ll be the hitter with the sweet jaw protector attached to my helmet, looking like I’m in little league. Don’t be afraid to wish me luck, cause I’m going to need it. Hopefully the next time I post I’ll have a couple home-runs in the stats column to talk about. 
Until next time…


  1. stargellstars

    You’ve proven every doubter wrong at every level of your career. You know how good you can be. Now shake off the rust, trust your talent and go get’em. You’ve got an appointment for April 2012 in the Burgh. Best of luck….stay healthy.

    P.S. How’s the shoulder doing…..pain free?

  2. brian921

    I bet it is a relief that the Mets pitcher is on your team…. you don’t have to face him as a batter! 🙂 Now, facing his pitches as a catcher could have a downside….

    All kidding aside, I wish you all the best in your ascent through the minor leagues! You had quite the outstanding season in 2009, and many were disappointed including yourself that you had to sit out and recover this year.

    I think this idea of up-and-coming players who represent the future of the Pirates blogging about their experiences traveling this path is a great idea. I followed Danny Moskos’ blog while he was doing it, and I will be following yours, too.

  3. idahopirate

    You have only been with the organization for a little over a year and I already have three major memories of you… not very common!

    I remember you on draft day and some commentators’ reactions to you being picked 4th. I obviously didn’t know what to think at the time, but I agree with Stargellstars above^^^. Keep proving them wrong!

    My second memory is your homer in your first Spring Training game with the Pirates. AWESOME! Your sprint around the bases was classic. LOL

    The third memory is hearing of you getting hit with that pitch. I couldn’t be more thrilled that you have bounced back and are ready to get going again.

    Actually, I am adding a fourth. I would daily check your stats at the beginning of this year in Bradenton and following your numbers, in particular your OBP. It is encouraging to see such a young, talented player with such great plate discipline.

    We can’t wait to see you at PNC!

  4. Brett Gray

    Good to see you back in baseball, and looks like you had a great first game back. Hopefully I’ll be blogging about you soaring through the minors next year! Good Luck in the AFL.



    Way to go Tony baby. My wife and I saw you play a couple of games in Port Charlotte this Spring. In fact you came about two feet from us while catching a popup against the screen. It’s the only thing that kept you out of our laps.

    Best of luck! We’ll be watching you.

    Lino Donoso


    Glad to have you back playing. All the best to you and look forward to you in a Bucs uniform-maybe in June?

    I have not see you with your jaw protector but if it helps you hit like “The Cobra” (Dave Parker who also wore a guard) that would be great!

  7. imadushbag

    good luck tony. i’ll say the same thing i said to andrew lambo in trenton, and it stopped him in his tracks. the whole city of pittsburgh is counting on you. not to put the whole world on your shoulders, its just a game. hope to see you this summer in trenton, as i live close by.


    Good Luck Tony, Really like getting news that you got 3 hits, thats the kind of news we all want to here.
    Could you let us know who really stands out to you in Arizona this year in your next blog and do you know how often you plan on writing your blog?


    Good luck Tony. Your blog confirms the excellent education you received at BC. I am greatly anticipating the day you put on your gear and begin a long and successful career with the Buccos.


    Hey Tony you are a role model both on and off the field.No matter how your career goes in baseball you will always be number one with my family.My son (liam) and daughter (Bridget) are always asking for you.Hope to see you soon. IRISH BLESSING: May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sunshine warm upon your face, May the rain fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.Bill, Peg, Liam and your #1 fan Bridget.


    We have watched you go through a rough time with the injury. You handled it well, and seem to be stronger and more determined for it….
    How we handle bumps in life’s road, determines the person we really are.. And you seem to be a winner. We are pulling for you young man!!!-

  12. azsports73

    Hey Tony.

    Thanks for the blog. It’s great to hear from someone who is doing something MANY of us wish we could have done. Looks like you’re coming back fine. I just checked the stats, great job. Just want to wish you the best of luck with your career. We will be over at your game tonight in Mesa. Good Luck.


    I remember another catcher who had to wear a jaw protector, 3 time All Star Terry Steinbach.

    Pirates fans can’t wait for you to get to Pittsburgh buddy, good luck in AFL.

  14. nikkidawn

    Best of luck Mr. Sanchez 🙂 And you did just fine writing your first entry! Mine is just some science titles and me rambling… yours is much better lol!

    See you in Pittsburgh soon, God Bless your travels (and Jaw)


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